Warner Bros., DC Comics and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel (and his heirs) have been in a legal war over the Superman rights and money for a while, and now Warner Bros. and DC Comics have won a favorable ruling according to Variety:
In a decision announced Wednesday, U.S. Judge District Court Judge Stephen G. Larson found that the license fees the studio paid to corporate sibling DC Comics didn’t represent “sweetheart” deals as they weren’t below fair market value. That means the heirs will be able seek profits only from DC Comics — which earned $13.6 million from Warner Bros. for the 2006 release of “Superman Returns” — rather than from Warner Bros. as well.
The judge, who conducted a 10-day bench trial, also noted that Warner Bros. chairman Alan Horn had testified that he hopes to make another “Superman” movie but added that the property wasn’t under development at the studio, that no script had been written and that the earliest another “Superman” pic could be released would be in 2012.
For whatever reason the Superman rights will revert back to the Siegel estate and that of co-creator Joe Shuster in 2013, so Warner Bros. only have until 2011 to start work on another Superman movie otherwise they will lose the rights. They’ve had since 2006 to decide what they want to do next and nothing has happened, so if they want cash in with another Superman movie they will need to decide what they want to do soon. Will it be a sequel or a reboot? Whichever route they decide go down we will find out over the next 18 months.